Category Archives: Playing at Altitude

Happy Spring!


Where I live in the Rocky Mountains spring does not arrive with an abundance of color. The signs of spring are much more subtle here at 7,000 feet – like the tiny dot of brilliant gold from the one lonely crocus in my front yard.

Although some yards have many colorful crocuses, the real signs of spring are more like

warm big blue days on the slopes where the snow is till abundant (fortunately)…


temperatures warm enough to stop and create ephemeral art while out on a hike…


beautiful ice crystal patterns along Cottonwood…


the sun not dipping behind the 14,000 + ft peaks until nearly 7:30 pm…


And if we’re lucky a spring blizzard that dumps a few more feet of snow in the mountains before the real melting begins…

A strong spring run-off is vitally important to feed the rivers and farmlands and to help to keep the dust at bay (at least for a little while).
And it is then that the leaves will begin to bud and the flowers will begin to unfurl their color, in earnest, in my Rocky Mountain valley.

How does spring unfurl where you live? I’d love to hear about it!

Wishing you the happiest of springs!





P.S. Unfurl is the word that I will be using as I create the color-in play sheet for the April Mermaid Tales ezine. I’d love to have you join me there. Click here to learn more and sign-up.


1 Comment

Filed under Creativity, Everyday Adventure, Friends, Joy, My Salida Backyard, Nature, Playing, Playing at Altitude

Fun Convergence of Create, Play & Thrive


We arrived at the hut – after about a 5.8 mile ski – on this gorgeous big blue afternoon. There were ten of us in this group, and I was honored to be part of it. This crew – who call themselves “Hicks on Sticks” have been hut tripping together for years, and it was Tim & my first adventure with them.


Selfie on New York Peak ridge (Elevation: ~ 12,400 ft)

I’m in my element when I get to play outside in the wilderness – especially when mother nature bestows beautiful weather (new powder is also included in the beautiful weather category for winter hut trips, but the sunshine works, too)

I like knowing my body enjoys taking me to these remote places (even if she does whine sometimes).

I love being in community with friends – new and old.

When I head into the back country there is little space for creative play tools in my backpack, but I always try to bring something to write with and on. At the huts there will generally be a big sketchbook that is the log book/guest book.

At Polar Star I found a brand new sketchbook that no one had yet written in. There were several others – and in the most recent I found entries from the end of December 2015 at the very back of the book.

Wow – no one had made an entry in the new book or in the new year.

I was glad I came prepared with a handful of colored pencils and markers – and got to christen the new log book.


HutSignSince we spent the better part of the middle day of our visit skiing, I didn’t have a lot of time or energy to create anything too elaborate.

I loved the wooden hut sign that is above the entrance of the hut, so I decided to create that star in the log book.

After I was done I asked my friends if they’d be willing to sign the page. (I had done this with friends at a hut another time.) This is when I learned that they called themselves Hicks on Sticks – and that they each have nick names for themselves, which is how they signed. I became Lisa Marie.

Creating & playing allows me to thrive.



heading towards New York Mountain ridge


watching the sun set

and about a bizillion stars join the crescent moon in the sky


making and eating yummy food

and laughing – A LOT!


And for me this was a perfect convergence of create, play & thrive.

How about you? What is your perfect convergence?




GiveGirlJrnlLogoP.S. If you have not yet seen Jamie Ridler Studio’s Give a Girl a Journal project, please check it out!

I’ve already sponsored a girl to receive a journal, and plan to share some of my thoughts on how journaling has affected me in an upcoming post.

Leave a comment

Filed under Creative Play, Everyday Adventure, Journaling, Outdoor Adventure, Playing, Playing at Altitude

Confessions of a Powder Hound


Some moments over the weeks between Christmas and New Year, that included multiple powder days, I thought of my plans for visioning for 2016.

An article in the January 2016 issue of National Geographic — titled “This is Your Brain on Nature” talks about how nature nurtures us and relieves stress.

I know this to be true for me, and spending timing in nature is something I must do. And so I let those planning thoughts go…to be in nature, in the moment.

PowderTrees_smPart of the reason many of us who live in the Rocky Mountains are here is because of the natural beauty that surrounds us. And skiers, like me, love (and really must) take advantage of the snow when it falls in abundance the way it did around the holidays.

I wish I’d kept track of the exact inches that fell during those weeks between Christmas and the New Year, but I forgot in the moment when the snow report said 11″ and we were out the door and headed up to the mountain.

I couldn’t help myself. And I really didn’t need to. Besides my shoulds (i.e. my plans for visioning), I did not have any specific obligations that I skipped out on.

Believe me there have been other times in my life when I had to be at work, I had other obligations, or I didn’t live close enough to take advantage…

and this is why I am grateful to work for myself amongst the beauty that surrounds me.


The National Geographic article also notes that “virtual nature is soothing too.”

I hope you enjoy my images of playing in the snow, but more than that I hope that you find your own way to get out and enjoy nature.


whether it is in a wild back country setting (me and my hubby in an area called the humps)


or in a park near your home (me on a trail along the river that I walked to from my house – and as a side note this is a new trail that our community developed to allow fly fishing access to the handicapped)

So now we’re coming up on mid-January. And my visioning (which always includes nature and space for taking advantage of powder) for 2016 is coming together in bite-sized pieces. I realize that is really my way of working…so I’m learning not to resist. It make the process much easier and more fun.

So how about you?

How is your vision for 2016 coming along? Be sure to include time outside in nature…it’s good for you, and it’s FUN, too 🙂




P.S. Just to be accountable I think I’ll include a bit about my near term visions. They include a few giveaways — of the printable edition of the 2016 Daily Musings Journal and a few quarterly spots in The Journey Within – A Year of Handmade Journals. I hope you’ll stay tuned!!



Leave a comment

Filed under Joy, Outdoor Adventure, Playing, Playing at Altitude

Panorama Play — a photo essay


As we finished dinner the clouds in the western sky began to turn pinkish orange. It was a gorgeous evening. This was in late September and it was one of our last evenings eating dinner outside on our deck.

I wanted to capture the whole sky! And the the panorama feature of the iPhone camera let’s you do just that. It’s really not quite the same as being there, but playing with the camera is a fun part of the magic moment, too.

You’d really lose the affect sharing these panoramas on Instagram…so I thought I’d share a few of my favs from the past few months here.


Looking out, above Independence Pass at about 13,000 feet – late August 2015



Fall colors along Little Cochetopa Creek Trail – late September 2015
Photo taken by my hubby — can you see me in the image? Twice!
This is another fun and silly way to play with the panorama feature on an iPhone!!


Snacking and taking in the view along the Cottonwood Trail – late October 2015
Another photo taken by my hubby:)


Scouting our perspective labyrinth site above town (a Salida Parks & Rec project I’m working on) – late October 2015
What a magical spot for a labyrinth! Fingers crossed we can make this happen!


Pedaling along the Rainbow Trail – another late October day (Halloween Day actually:)

Yes – these spots are all basically in my backyard. Stunning, yes?!
The mountains are my everyday view, and I feel so blessed each day when I look out upon them.

It was grey and rain-snowy the day I began this post, and the peaks have been moving in and out of clouds the past few days. But I can feel them watching over me as they begin to get their winter coat on.

What are your everyday views, and how can you find the beauty in these views – no matter where you live?





P.S. Panorama images best viewed on a computer versus a tiny device. To get an even better view click on each image to see them full size.

MiniMusingsAdvComingSoon_500wP.S.S. A mini musings adventure is coming soon. This five day blog series about my perfectly imperfect Daily Musings Journal practice will include fun tips & techniques, tools for the adventure and a chance for you to win a 2016 Daily Musings Journal. Mark you calendar – it begins November 16.


Filed under Creativity, Everyday Adventure, My Salida Backyard, Nature, Outdoor Adventure, Playing, Playing at Altitude

Going with the Flow…


On Friday I woke to two feet (yes you read that right) of new snow — right in town. Although the ski area was no longer open, I could see from their web cam that they had likely received a similar amount.

And although there were other to do’s on my agenda…

I couldn’t pass up this epic powder day (my hubby captured me giggling as I flowed right on down through the powder).


MeTop-ofGunbarrelTaking this unexpected snow day for pure powder bliss (oh yeah there was  some heavy-snow shoveling, too) was a good reminder to go with the flow. There was no way I could have predicted this epic snow was actually going to happen despite the weathermen calling for snow.

And now I am trying to let go of resistance and go with the flow

…as I create my piece Layering to Now (working title) piece for the Arts at the Library Challenge Show.

Layering to Now – work in progress for the Arts at the Library Challenge Show








…as I begin dreamstorming for a visual journaling e-course I want to share with you.

…as, like the spring snow storm, the unexpected happens each day.

When do you need to step back and just go with the flow?





P.S. I have a working title for the e-course I’m dreamstorming – it’s Cultivate & Capture Your Magic Moments. If you want to be the first to hear when it’s ready, I hope you’ll join my mermaid tales community. Just click here to sign-up.

1 Comment

Filed under Art & Design, Everyday Adventure, Friends, Inspiration, Journaling, Joy, mixed media, Outdoor Adventure, Playing, Playing at Altitude